Hardcore shows are testosterone-fueled events, the equivalent of a freight train gathering speed throughout the course of its run. Yet, if you miss that train your gonna be left behind with no chance of getting back on that baby. That’s pretty much what happened when I dragged myself over to Mao Livehouse a couple weeks back to check out our own Return the Truth, Saving Molly, and Unregenerate Blood, as well as Strength Approach and Rise of the Northern Star, over from Europe. The body was unwilling – and as much as the music was great, it was an uphill battle from the get go.
Despite the small crowd, Return the Truth left it all out there, and made everyone feel right at home, part of the big ol’ hardcore family.
And really, it’s a testament to these guys for how comfortable they made the crowd feel. Warmth and compassion at a hardcore show? Why yes indeed – and it goes a long way in connecting with an audience, and Return the Truth had it in spades.
In terms of adrenaline rushes though, Saving Molly were really the highlight of the night, kicking everything into high gear. These lads must have been wound up, cause once they were set loose they was no stopping them.
There’s a momentum to their sound that’s easy to get sucked into, and I’d say that out of all the bands tonight, the singer here ‘s the one least afraid is have his voice turn into a razor sharp shriek. Yeah, it titters (intentionally) on emo, but sue, me I dig it.
Unregenerate Blood, came on next looking to get the crowd (and my sorry self) in an uproar. When it comes to hardcore in Beijing, UB are still number one in my book and it’s clear to see why.
Including the silly boy who took the mic wire with him into the crowd, the audience gave back as much as they could. Yet at the same time though, the line between audience and band is all too clear – the two feed off of one another and if one is lacking, it’s effects the other. It’s this dynamic that too often leads to bands focusing too much on the audience, trying to rally them up.
Strength Approach (from Italy) and Rise of the Northern Star (from France) didn’t need so much worry about this. Yeah, these was a bit of pestering to the lax crowd, but man, did they spit fire on stage.
There’s a precision to their performances – the way the lead barks out scripture, the backup vocals demanding us to “Stand Your Ground” – controlled chaos. And with Rise of the Northern Star, they took it to the next level.
With a frontman sporting the a hat that only a French hardcore band could pull off, the band actively spoon fed the crowd with what they wanted while continously keeping their music big and grand, including some wicked guitar work from the oddly fascinating bearded man.
It’s a shame that while my body laid awreck in Mao, my soul simply wasn’t in it. Sometimes you just can’t catch that train. Suppose there’s always next time. Le Hardcore!!!
Click below for more videos from Return the Truth, Saving Molly, and Unregenerate Blood.